Funding Opportunities Available for Women Business Owners

Funding Sources that Target Women-Owned Businesses

Angel, Seed & Venture Capital

Golden Seeds and Golden Ventures

http://www.goldenseeds.com/

“Golden Seeds is an investment firm that is dedicated to delivering above market returns through the empowerment of women entrepreneurs and the people who invest in them.”

Women’s Venture Capital Fund

http://www.womensvcfund.com/

“We invest in women entrepreneurs. The Fund capitalizes on the intersection of the expanding pipeline of women founders and gender-diverse management teams who are creating capital efficient companies with stiletto high growth rates. We see this nexus offering epic opportunities for wealth creation.”

Phenomenelle Angels

http://www.phenomenelleangels.com/

“Phenomenelle Angels Fund I, LP is an early stage fund that invests in women and minority owned or managed businesses in Wisconsin and the Midwest.”

Springboard Enterprises

http://www.springboardenterprises.org/about

“Venture-catalyst Springboard Enterprises is the premier platform where entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts meet to build great women-led businesses. Springboard educates, sources, coaches, showcases and supports high growth companies seeking equity capital for expansion.”

Illuminate Ventures

Home Page

“Illuminate Ventures is different – we don’t rely on “pattern recognition” or following the herd.  We seek new and innovative business ideas led by committed, talented and diverse teams, particularly those that are inclusive of women entrepreneurs.  We recognize that great investment opportunities come in a variety of packages – sometimes looking a bit different from the norm.” 

Ceres Venture Fund

http://www.ceresventurefund.com/index.php

“Ceres Venture Fund, L.P. is an established Chicago-based venture capital fund dedicated to funding high growth companies located in the Midwest in their early stages of growth.”

BELLE Capital

http://www.bellevc.com/

“BELLE Capital, LP is an early stage angel fund focused on building great companies in Michigan and other, underserved geographic regions in the Midwest and South.”

One for Women Kansas City

http://www.onekcforwomen.com/wcc/

“The Women’s Capital Connection officially launched in January, 2008 with 32 founding investors committed to investing in women-led ventures in our region.  Since 2008, 47 women investors have been involved in supporting angel investing.”

Loan Programs

Small Business Administration (Office of Women's Business Ownership)**

(www.sba.gov/womeninbusiness) – The SBA is doing more than ever to help level the playing field for women entrepreneurs, who still face unique obstacles in the world of business. At every stage of developing and expanding a successful business, the Office of Women's Business Ownership is here to counsel, teach, encourage and inspire. Check out their “Hot List” of outside resources.

Count-Me-In : Make Mine a Million

(http://www.makemineamillion.org) – This is organization offers annual events and grant awards to woman owned businesses who want to grow to over one million dollars in revenue. This site is great for inspiration, too – check out the Million Dollar Club page to read about the success stories of the organization.

Grants.gov

(www.grants.gov) – This United States Government resource provides information on other government agencies and what grants they have available. Search their database and see what may be available to you. Some of the agency grants listed on this site include The Food and Drug Administration, National Park Service, Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Administration, and the DOT Department of Transportation.

American Association of University Women

(www.aauw.org) – This foundation is one of the largest private sources of funding for graduate women in the world, supports aspiring scholars around the globe, teachers and activists in local communities, women at critical stages of their careers, and those pursuing professions where women are underrepresented.

The Ada Project for Women (TAP)

(http://tap.mills.edu) – Includes information on conferences, discussion groups, organizations, fellowships, grants, and notable women in computer science.

Opportunity Fund

http://www.opportunityfund.org/

“Opportunity Fund is the largest non-profit microfinance lender in California helping small businesses throughout the Bay Area since 1995. We have invested over $200 million locally, including over 1,700 loans totaling $19.5 million to business owners like you.”

Women’s Venture Fund

http://www.wvf-ny.org/Business-Loans/

“Our mission: Small business loans for women entrepreneurs. Obtaining small business financing isn’t easy – and getting small business loans for women can be more challenging still. Women’s Venture Fund understands. That’s why our mission is to help women entrepreneurs get the small business financing they need to start or grow a business.”

Wells Fargo

https://www.wellsfargo.com/biz/women_diverse_business/women/

“Wells Fargo celebrates the strength, vision and innovation of women business owners. Through our financial solutions, outreach efforts and educational resources, we help sustain the success of women-owned businesses; and we are honored to support their role in shaping the future of small business.  As America’s #1 small business lender1, Wells Fargo is dedicated to helping you succeed financially — in business and personally. We stand ready to help you grow your business, achieve your vision and safeguard your financial success.”

Accelerators & Incubators (Many programs offer the potential for investment upon completion.)

Women Innovate Mobile (WIM)

http://womeninnovatemobile.com/

“Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) is the first startup accelerator and mentorship-driven program designed for women-founded companies in mobile technology.”

Astia

http://astia.org/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,779/

“Founded in 1999 in Silicon Valley, Astia is an innovative global not-for-profit organization that propels women's full participation as entrepreneurs and leaders in high-growth businesses, fueling innovation and driving economic growth.  Astia offers programs for high-growth start-ups that deliver results.”

Springboard Enterprises

https://www.springboardenterprises.org/

“Venture-catalyst Springboard Enterprises is the premier platform where entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts meet to build great women-led businesses. Springboard educates, sources, coaches, showcases and supports high growth companies seeking equity capital for expansion.”

RampCorp

http://www.txstate.edu/rampcorp/

“The Ramps™ training program is designed for women entrepreneurs. Texas State University RampCorp brings “The Ramps™” to cities across Texas. We’re recruiting up to 30 current and future entrepreneurs per city to launch companies with guidance from seasoned entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors.”

WESST Enterprise Center

http://www.wesst.org/

“WESST was founded in 1988 by three women to help women start their own businesses. Six years later, the organization expanded to five centers across the state with 75% of its clientele being women. Two and a half years ago, WESST also opened its first incubator in downtown Albuquerque.”

**Further Information on SBA Loans/Programs

The SBA offers four guaranteed programs to assist with loans. They are:

SBA 7(a) Loan Program

Provided through standard commercial lending institutions (your local bank), this is the primary lending method for the SBA. Loans from this program are flexible to assist with a variety of business purposes, in both existing small businesses and in start-ups. There are four primary types of 7(a) loan programs, each with a number of subtypes:

  • Express Programs – These provide certain key groups of borrowers such as veterans, active-duty military personnel, and borrowers from distressed communities a faster, more streamlined application process.
  • Export Loan Programs – Designed to help American small businesses bring more goods to world markets, the business must have been in existence for at least one year (but not necessarily exporting), and the money must go toward enhancing development of exports.
  • Rural Lender Advantage Program – Targeted to help the rural lender with infrequent SBA contact in addition to assisting the borrower, this initiative helps smaller lenders navigate simpler eligibility requirements, and provides a streamlined application process and faster turnaround time versus some other forms of loans.
  • Special Purpose Loans Program – An umbrella group to cover loans to assist areas adversely affected by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), loans for pollution control (to help a business reduce its environmental impact), and to assist Employee Stock Ownership Plans. (Note that the Pollution Control program is not always available due to lack of appropriation from Congress).

SBA CDC / 504 Loan Program

Accomplished through private, community economic development not-for-profit companies called “Certified Development Companies” (CDCs), these loans are intended for business that need “brick and mortar” financing to acquire fixed assets for modernizing or expanding (generally equipment and real estate). They are usually long term and fixed rate loans.

Learn more about the SBA CDC / 504 Loan Program.

SBA Microloan Program

Also done through specially designated nonprofits, these small (less than $35,000), short term loans are to help with small-scale financing for start-up and expansion of a small business or not-for-profit childcare center. They can be used for equipment, machinery, supplies, inventory, furniture, fixtures, and working capital. The non-profit lenders also specialize in technical assistance to help these businesses succeed.

Find out if the SBA Microloan Program is right for your small business.

Disaster Assistance Loan Program

Specifically for a business impacted by a declared disaster, this loan can help repair or replace assets damaged or destroyed by the disaster. This may include inventory, machinery, equipment, personal property, real estate, and other business assets. Has your business been impacted by a declared disaster?

Find out more about the Disaster Assistance Loan Program.

How does the SBA Help with grants?

The SBA is very clear in stating that it “does NOT provide grants for starting and expanding a business.”Grants are usually developed and managed by state agencies or non-profit organizations and each has it's own set of qualification rules and application process. WomanOwned offers access to a very large (many thousands) grant database to our members as one of the benefits of joining. This one stop grant search system will help you to search by keyword, category or state to find programs that are right for you.

Learn more about our Grant Database and WomanOwned Membership here.

SBA Office of Women's Business Ownership

The SBA maintains an Office of Women’s Business Ownership, and provides resources to Women's Business Centers (WBC) in many states in the US. Working with a local WBC will help you to tap into the resources of the SBA and to work towards successful loan application for one of the loan programs listed above.

Find a WBC office in your state here.

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Meridith Dennes is a co-founder and the CEO of Project Eve LLC, a leading women's lifestyle media company online including some of the web's best loved communities including the eponymous Project Eve, Getting Balance, Project Eve Moms, Project Eve Money and Scary Puppy Silly Kitty. With a digital readership in excess of 20+ million monthly uniques, and over 1 million social media followers, Project Eve provides the news and resources to inspire and empower women. Meridith also works as a digital consultant and social media strategist and has worked with several Fortune 500 companies to help increase brand awareness and improve social media engagement.Meridith holds a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business. Prior to founding Project Eve, she spent 15 years working in investment banking. Meridith currently lives in Vermont with her husband and 2 daughters and spends her free time teaching skiing, practicing yoga, hiking and snowshoeing.

7 COMMENTS

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  2. This is an incredible list, Meridith! Thank you SO much for putting this together and spoiling us rotten with it! You’re my hero.

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